EarthCraft Multifamily is the country’s first multifamily-specific green building program. It addresses both newly constructed multifamily projects and renovations. The result is Multifamily communities that are healthy and operationally cost effective, as well as energy, water, and resource efficient.
The multifamily program provides certifications for both low-rise and mid-rise projects, with considerations for new construction, renovation, historic preservation, and adaptive re-use. The multifamily program addresses a wide range of sustainability issues, including environmental performance, indoor air quality, building durability, comfort, and affordability. The EarthCraft Multifamily program addresses these concerns at the unit level and for the community as a whole.
This is accomplished through a step-by-step process molded to each developer and their project team’s needs. Viridiant works with the project team throughout the construction process to ensure the project is meeting all program criteria. The EarthCraft Multifamily program utilizes a HERS rating, program guidelines, points-based worksheet, site visits, and diagnostic testing to verify that each project complies with program standards and current green building best practices. Project teams work with an EarthCraft Multifamily Project Manager and Technical Advisor, who will provide support in meeting program criteria from the design phase through all phases of construction.
ECMF Certification Process Overview
STEP 1: Pre-Review
All multifamily projects pursuing EarthCraft certification must complete a Pre-Review Submittal. Renovation projects will need to schedule baseline testing, additional fees will apply. The current online submission requires:
- EarthCraft Multifamily Workbook V5 (must fill out Cover Sheet, Spec Sheet, & Architect Checklist)
- Digital set of scalable plans (must include floor plans, elevations, & exterior wall sections)
- $500 Pre-Review fee
The EarthCraft Multifamily team will build worst case energy models and provide feedback to the project team to ensure the project will meet minimum energy efficiency requirements. For LIHTC applicants, project teams must approve necessary scope adjustments for Viridiant to sign the Appendix F at this point.
The following deadlines will apply for Pre-Review of 2018 competitive tax credit projects:
- March 2: Renovation Baseline On-Site Test Scheduling (Viridiant Technical Advisors must visit renovation project sites to inspect current conditions and conduct diagnostic testing. Initiate scheduling by completing the Pre-Review Submittal form or by contacting Manon Shankle at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- March 9: Pre-Review Form & Documentation Submittal (The Pre-Review form, plans, and EarthCraft Workbook must be submitted by end of day)
- March 16: VHDA’s LIHTC Application Deadline
STEP 2: Pre-Construction
Next the project team will register the project and schedule a Design Review Meeting. This meeting should be held before construction documents are issued. Upon registration, an ECMF Project Manager (PM) will be assigned to the project. The PM will issue a contract and confirm the meeting date. The registration will ask for the following:
- Updated EarthCraft Multifamily Workbook (must fill out Points Worksheet)
- The latest digital set of plans (must include floor plans, elevations, & exterior wall sections)
- HVAC Load Calculations & Ventilation Strategy
Using this information, the ECMF team will update the project’s preliminary energy models and complete a comprehensive review of all materials. During the Design Review Meeting, the project team and Viridiant staff will review ECMF program requirements and energy modeling. The PM will communicate suggested modifications that should be incorporated to reach ECMF certification.
STEP 3: Construction
Next the project team will schedule a Construction Kick-Off Meeting with your project’s assigned Technical Advisor (TA). Your TA will meet onsite with your contractor and pertinent subcontractors to review the project workbook, necessary documentation, and diagnostic testing goals.
From this point on, the TA will be making regular site visits to the site to observe construction progress as well as verify program compliance and point items. The TA will conduct a visual inspection of necessary air sealing measures and insulation levels. The TA will conduct preliminary diagnostic testing (duct blaster and blower door tests) on up to 10% of the units.
STEP 4: Project Closeout
The TA will conduct final diagnostic testing on a minimum of 30% of the units to verify the project meets or surpasses established infiltration and duct leakage goals. The TA will also visually verify that installed fixtures and appliances are consistent with efficiencies specified for the project. It is the TA’s responsibility to compile all documents for verification of program compliance.
Once the signed final worksheet, testing summary, and any other necessary items are ready, the TA will submit the final submittal package to Viridiant staff for review. The assigned Project Manager will review and update the project files, and confirm energy modeling performance.
STEP 5: Certification
After ensuring program compliance and fulfillment of energy goals, and confirming project fees were paid in full, Viridiant will certify the project under our multifamily program. The developer will be provided with:
- EarthCraft exterior plaque
- EarthCraft certificate
- EarthCraft labels
For LIHTC projects, Viridiant will notify VHDA of project certification.
Affordable housing in the EarthCraft Multifamily program:
Since its inception, EarthCraft has dispelled the myth that “green costs too much.” The EarthCraft program takes a practical approach to constructing environmentally responsible projects, making them accessible to a variety of market sectors, including affordable housing. EarthCraft assures energy and water savings, healthier indoor air quality, and reduced maintenance and utility costs – attributes that are critical to moderate and lower income residents. Through its affordable housing work, EarthCraft ensures that the benefits of green building reach those who need them the most.
Since 2006, EarthCraft has been incorporated into the state Qualified Allocation Plans in both Virginia and Maryland. Through these programs, affordable housing developers are incentivised with additional funding to promote sustainable, affordable developments.